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Reconciliation
User Topic: Codependent cycles and partners.
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 3:50 PM, May 23rd (Friday)

Okay, 22 months out here. Early on, therapist identified me as a codependent in an unhealthy relationship.


Looking back at how I reacted on DD thats a "no duh!" thing...but at the time I thought it was an odd diagnosis.

Thought it odd because I oversee a multi-million dollar budget, have addressed 200 people as I presented at national conferences, fought raging western wild fires......all of this was my excuse why I was not codependent. I was STRONG! CONFIDENT! blah blah blah embarrassing really.

Codependent choices are weak choices...I am not weak!

Therapist was correct. I was codependent.

Then I thought "Well, codependent means I lost myself for my wife, then she would loose herself for me. Thats the "co" part of codependent, right?"

Wrong again.

There is a taker and a giver within this destructive cycle.


Then I had to accept that I was a giver. Sounds kinda noble on the surface....its not. It is among the most self-destructive, undervaluing of oneself as you can get. To better understand this destructive choice I need only put one of my daughters in my shoes and envision watching her choose as I was choosing (or contemplating choosing)

Now, to be fair I am a "high level codependent" and my wife is a high level other-side of this relationship.

That is why it was able to stay hidden for as long as it did. No wife-beater t-shirts involved, no door-mat mousey spouse to be found. It was all very sophisticated.

Now the curtains are gone, the masks are destroyed....and here we are. Naked.

sigh. Wow.

That was us. That was me, that was my wife.

sigh. Wow.


Codependent No More was a key book for me. It started the change.

Dr. Henry Cloud said this at a conference we attended.

"You know you are codependent when you have a near death experience and someone ELSES life flashes before your eyes."

As I work through this I see how parts of me slowly vanished over the past 20-30 years.

Kicker is....that was all my choice!

Not a factor of my wife DEMANDING this of me...that was my own free will at work!

How do I know? I have examined my other relationships....guess what. Same mode of operation.


Sure, it worked well for my wife....fit HER brokenness. So she never really objected to these choices of mine. Her brokenness worked well for me too. Mine fit hers.

See how this cycle starts and continues? Its not sinister....but it is destructive.

Only takes one to change for the cycle to change.

It takes two to change for a healthy cycle to develop.


Thats what our goal in this forum is right? To heal and change....to become more healthy.


Just expressing.

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 3:58 PM, May 23rd (Friday)]


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 3:56 PM, May 23rd (Friday)

"Lost oneself" for another vs. "Give oneself" for another. Subtle but big difference here.

Giving indicates you are aware of your surroundings...an intentionallity to your actions. Healthy fruits are produced.

Lost indicates you are unaware of your surroundings....actions are largely unintentional when you are lost. Unhealthy fruits are produced.


Two key factors to getting out of ruts that entrapped me for so long are....

1. Radical Honesty

2. Intentional Living (loving)


Ruts are nothing more than graves with the ends kicked out.


....kind of a favorite quote of mine.

Peace.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 3:57 PM, May 23rd (Friday)]


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
BrokenButTrying
Member
Member # 42111
Default  Posted: 4:50 PM, May 23rd (Friday)

Thanks for this Blakesteele.

I've just finished reading Co-D No More after coming to the realisation that I am co-dependent in my M with BH.

It was a true light bulb moment for me. Life changing in fact. I've been taking massive strides since then which is both scary and wonderful at the same time!

I definitely lost myself, I completely disappeared. But I don't want to find myself again, I want a new improved version.

Still a long way to go but I'll get there. Well done on your progress, marvellous stuff.


Me - 27
Him - 27
Madhatters

My Ddays - 01/10 & 12/04/14
His Dday - 23/12/13

Chin up. Unwavering. Fight. I can do this.


Posts: 1230 | Registered: Jan 2014 | From: UK
hopefull77
Member
Member # 43221
Default  Posted: 5:35 PM, May 23rd (Friday)

Oh boy ANOTHER book for me to read...for sure!!! I am helping amazon quite nicely I might add!!
Early on I read how we love ...took the test online ...no surprise I was a pleaser he was an avoider...
I also notice that quite a few of my friends have strong personalities...makes it harder for me to say 'no' ...
I have changed my ways these last 18 months...
thanks again blakesteele!


me-BS
him-WS
3 adult children 1D 2S
married-1977
LTA 09-2010 - 11-2012
D-day - 11-11-2012
status - reconciling and very hopeful
"Let Go of Control; Let God's Life Flow" ...Richard Rohr



Posts: 463 | Registered: Apr 2014 | From: sunny california
DixieD
Member
Member # 33457
Default  Posted: 2:51 PM, May 26th (Monday)

I can relate to your CoD posts Blake.

From the outside, it would have appeared that I was the strong/tough one in the relationship and in a lot of ways I was. For many years, I know I was more of The Taker than The Giver. We were never really on the same page at the same time. A petty power struggle. You know the dysfunctional dance I'm talking about.

Anyway, then I got sick. I needed my husband perhaps for the first time, and I hated every minute of it. I felt vulnerable. I felt like a burden. Over time, I became stronger again, but I didn't see it. As so often happens in these sorts of dynamics, your perceptions are off and you don't see reality while you are living it.

Instead of encouraging me to do what I could, my husband had begun pointing out what I couldn't do. That helped to keep me feeling less than. When in reality over time, things shifted and I was doing my share AND HIS share (emotional, physical and financial) while still feeling like I wasn't doing enough to pull my weight.

The more CoD I became, just happened to coincide with the more P/A my husband became….I was using my precious energy to work on improving his life and career and tip-toe around his moods (which was futile) while not giving much thought to what I wanted anymore. If there was a problem, I would fix it. If he was bothered by something, I'd have the solution….and then I'd be frustrated when he would sit back and complain over and over again about the same thing, yet do nothing to correct it.

If he was happy, that was good enough for me. If he was successful, I was proud of him and shared in that success (behind the scenes of course) and that was all that mattered. It meant life would be easier and I'd help him achieve his goals. I wanted his life to be the best it could be. What wrong with that, right?

Well, I didn't know what I wanted anymore, and worse yet it didn't really matter to me. The life was being sucked out of me, but I didn't see it and if I did I sure didn't know why. I didn't even look at the fact that I was unhappy and frustrated and that living with him had become just so damn difficult. Trying to work around his P/A moods/behavior, instead of looking in the mirror at myself to realize I was feeding the monster plus depriving myself.

I was so angry after dday when I realized I'd been The Giver for a long time and this is how my husband repaid me. But really that shouldn't have been surprising. The more you give, while you live with a Taker, the more they will take until you turn off the supply.

Only takes one to change for the cycle to change.
It takes two to change for a healthy cycle to develop.

I really like that.


Growing forward

Posts: 1767 | Registered: Sep 2011
peoplepleaser
Member
Member # 41535
Default  Posted: 8:42 PM, May 26th (Monday)

So I'm still trying to understand this. The way you guys describe it I see my WS in your roles. I'm trying to understand the giver/taker dynamic, though.

So, DixieD, you label yourself the taker, but you describe a cycle of giving. My WS would say many big what you did. She anticipated my unspoken needs (most not really there because I voice them readily) and presented as the strong one without any needs while silently judging me for not anticipating them.

It's also interesting that the BS's seem to relate more to the role my WS had. What's that about?

Help me understand this.


WS: 38--2 EAs
BS: 38--me, faithful
DS: 5
8 year relationship in R.
DDay #1: September 6, 2013 EA for 5 weeks August 2013.
DDay #2: January 2, 2014 EA for 6 weeks summer 2011.
"I am still learning." -Michelangelo

Posts: 547 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: Midwest
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 9:40 PM, May 26th (Monday)

Thanks DixieD. For years my wife had a small business....worked out well. Satisfied her creative need, challenged her a bit, and she could stay at home with our girls. But I, like you, would give and she would take. Again....not in a sinister mean way at all. I would just do for her and she was happy to take. My brokenness that influenced me to try and anticipate her needs (so she wouldn't abandon me) fit in nicely with her brokenness that influenced her to be uncomfortable expressing her needs.

Since her A I have backed away from doing for her (I was paying her cell phone bill while she was in her A.....texting alert was how I had my first DD). She has stepped up. Result? Her business is growing, I have no resentment, and she asks for help! Breaking this cycle is good for BOTH of us......and our M.....and our family!!!!!

Cycles can be broken without breaking those who were a part of it. Actually, breaking it and starting healthy cycles in their place build us and strengthen us.

Our old cycle was hurting and limiting us both......sigh. I never thought that.....nor did mrs blakesteele.

God help us all.

Peoplepleaser.....I know I am wordy and a bit confusing on this subject. I am sorry for that. Honestly.....I get a bit lost still.

I still have to check my every motive. Am I choosing this for healthy reasons or are my unhealthy internal influences tempting me to choose unhealthy again.

My DD is a prime, concise example of our relationship. Me a flurry of activity, my wife detached and a "take it or leave it" stance. It was the STRONGEST, starkest example of how we operated.....but it was our relationship. Again.....it worked so well.........until it didn't.

WS or BS.....either could be codependent. If I lacked boundaries as my wife did (with regards to interacting with the opposite sex) I believe I could have been a WS.


It takes two to make this relationship "work". Kicker is, it is destructive to both. Unhealthy relationships are destructive.

Resentment builds in both. Mostly subconscious (a bit by choice really, neither of us wanted to hurt the others feelings) resentment existed.

It gets more confusing when you realize you're a "high-level codependent".

Peoplepleaser......might try and just see if you were in a codependent cycle, and forgo who was giver and who was taker.

Seems like the best weapon to break this, and other destructive cycles is to.

1. Be radically honest. Resentment can't breed where truth and honesty are.

2. Intentional living. This is feeling feelings.....but only going to action after real facts are gathered. Sometimes that "action" is simply expressing your feelings to your mate.


Peace.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 9:48 PM, May 26th (Monday)]


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
DixieD
Member
Member # 33457
Default  Posted: 9:44 PM, May 26th (Monday)

Peoplepleaser, the roles are not always fixed or set in stone. They change and develop over time. You can pass the behavior back and forth between each other. Similar to the Karpmann Drama Triangle and how people can move from the role of Victim to Martyr to Pursecutor easily.

Early on in our relationship, I was more of a Taker than a Giver. I was more counter-dependent (or independent) than codependent in a lot of ways. Later on (some 20 years later) for the years leading up to his affair, I was more codependent and more a Giver and he was very much a Taker (he was also because more P/A and an addict, and addicts tends to be self-centered and self-absorbed). My husband also has CoD behavior, but his CoD traits are different than mine. Yeah, I know confusing, right?

It's just what we can look back and see now that we couldn't see then. Reading Codependent No More goes a long way to understanding the unhealthy behavior. At the core it's an unhealthy dynamic.

Blake mentioned this is another thread about CoD and it's very good at explaining it.

I wish I could draw a diagram here......

Picture a box.

Top left corner is "Independent"....acting on our own.

Top right corner is "codependent....acting together but someone is being lost in this interaction.

Back and forth we go....light bonding is all that is ever accomplished. No deep intimacy.

Bottom left corner is "false intimacy".....something that attempts to fill a void not being filled by two spouse going back and forth between those upper corners. False intimacy could be a career, kids, porn, adultery, alcohol, etc. this feels GREAT at first......very liberating. After all you broke away from an aggravating cycle. YOU are "finding what you have been missing". Some stay here.....WS choosing adultery, SA choosing porn, alcoholic choosing beer.

Bottom right corner is "interdependence". This is were two healthy, stand alone people intentionally engage one another. Mutual respect, radical honesty, true vulnerability is expressed back and forth. Real, mature bonding and intimacy takes place and GROWS!

ETA. Blake, we always post at the same time I can also relate to your wife. I had my own business and that's when I would take and my husband would give. Her and I are also ACOA is I remember correctly and have trouble with feelings and all that goes along with that. That's why this stuff is so fascinating with many different aspects about it.

[This message edited by DixieD at 9:48 PM, May 26th (Monday)]


Growing forward

Posts: 1767 | Registered: Sep 2011
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 10:33 PM, May 26th (Monday)

God bless you DixieD.

You are helping me keep some of the clarity I have struggled to gain and hold on to.

I am comforted by the fact you have kept up with my journey....it shows in your posts here.

Thank you.

God is with us all.

P.s. That passing back and forth of roles.....interesting dynamic. I wonder if that is a "healthier self" noticing something is wrong and we try to do something different. That's why I like that "box example" so well.....helps me visualize a dynamic that is not naturally intuitive to me.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
ItsaClimb
Member
Member # 37107
Default  Posted: 1:29 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

I identify with so much of this post blake.

The one thing I don't agree with is this:

"Lost oneself" for another vs. "Give oneself" for another. Subtle but big difference here.
Giving indicates you are aware of your surroundings...an intentionality to your actions. Healthy fruits are produced.

In my case my co-dependent actions were intentional. Perhaps not while growing up (I reckon I became co-dependent in early childhood) but in my marriage, definitely, my actions were intentional.

I never so much "lost myself" as willingly sacrificed myself at the altar of my happy marriage and family....

I grew up watching my mother and her dysfunctional marriages. I vowed I would have a wonderful marriage, wonderful family. I got married and so began the co-dependent dance. The minute either my husband, or later on, my kids, showed any signs of unhappiness, I would manipulate and shift situations to even the keel and make them happy again. The minute there was a threat to our "happy little family" from within the family unit or without, I would manipulate, shift, jump through hoops... to make everyone happy again. I never, ever, considered my own wants and needs, I was completely sucked up in creating this happy, perfect, little family. While I never acknowledged it in so many words, I was definitely intentional about what I was doing.

Weirdly, outsiders would probably say I was the strong one. I was completely calm (cold even) in a crisis, I was always telling my children, and even my husband what to do, I was in control. I was the "puppet master" but underneath that facade, I was running around making sure that my husband and children were happy and content and that their needs were being met, that they were satisfied and that life was proceeding smoothly and "perfectly". I was trying, desperately, to make sure that my kids never experienced the neglect and unhappiness that I experienced as a child and that my husband was perfectly satisfied with his perfect wife and perfect kids...

So, while it may have looked like I was controlling and strong - I was certainly controlling! - it was all directed at THEIR wants and needs, THEIR happiness and not at my own.

A strange, toxic, set-up indeed.

I am working SO hard at stopping the co-dependent behaviours. No easy task when they are SO ingrained! It's causing some very uncomfortable shifts in our family relationships.

I am no longer the "peace-keeper" with the result that there is often friction between the various family members that I would previously have settled by running around behind the scenes and smoothing ruffled feathers.

I am no longer taking on the lion's share of household tasks, I am no longer keeping quiet when a family member says or does something to offend me... it goes on and on.

Probably the most difficult aspect is keeping my nose out of everyone else's issues. The attitude around here has always been "itsaclimb will sort it out", the minute anyone has an issue, no matter how big or small and no matter whether or not it involves me, I would climb right in and fix it. I now have to sit on my hands and steel myself to stay out of it, let them fix it. Finding the balance is SO hard.

I can't say I am loving the friction and air of discontent that sometimes pervades our family home. But I am seeing a new strength and growth in me.

Funny.... about a year ago I would probably not have had the confidence to point out that I disagreed with your comment blake....I would have been scared to offend you.... times they are a-changin'

[This message edited by ItsaClimb at 1:41 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)]


BS 46
Together 29 yrs, M 25 years
2 daughters 24yo(married with a brand new little daughter) & 19yo
D-Day 18 Aug 2012
6mth EA lead to 4mth PA with CO-W. I found out 8 1/2 yrs later

Posts: 944 | Registered: Oct 2012
MJane
Member
Member # 40571
Default  Posted: 5:21 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

This sounds so familiar - will give the book a read. Like you Blakesteele I am a pretty strong-minded outgoing person so didn't think I fit into the mould of a co-dependent but recently have been thinking a lot about my motivations for staying in this M and also about how I have contorted myself over the years to please someone and have lost a sense of self. I have so wanted a "family" that I would have done pretty much anything to maintain it and that has come at a great cost to me personally. I have resented my husband for choices I have made at times - many times unasked but on assumptions that A,B or C will keep the peace. We are very different people. I wonder if he truly knows who I am some days - but maybe I am to blame for that in part.

Posts: 241 | Registered: Sep 2013
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 6:50 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

Solid post Itsaclimb. Thanks for challenging my thought. No offense taken.

Still working in this dynamic so your comments about intentionality are food for thought.

I see your point....and it does jive with what I know about codependent cycles. I was a bit off base with my comments but was mostly talking about how blind we were to what we were actually accomplishing vs what we THOUGHT we were accomplishing.

Wife and I very much had a "M by default". We knew what it was like to be in a family that lacked peace, nurturing and mature love. We were determined to NOT do as our parents did.

We are realizing there is a subtle but big difference between a peace keeper and peace maker. Best way I can describe it is peace keepers can use rug seeping as a tool, peace makers do not. Rug sweep (deny) our own needs and desires. Rug sweep our own pain. Both spouses do that, at least we did in our M.

Peace makers strive for radical honesty. Peace is made through the use of truth and open expressions. No hidden meaning, no manipulations.

This is why (I think) we feel strangely ok now when we disagree or say no. We know it is healthy. We know that it is honest. This sets the stage for a genuineness to once again be a part of our M. I believe it will result in healthy mature intimacy.

You HAVE changed and grown Itsaclimb. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of this process. It has helped us grow too.

MJane. That wondering if your spouse knows you? Totally get that. I take that thought one step further. How well does MJane know herself?

This is a tie into the "unintentional" part of my thought...

I have met parts of blakesteele I didn't know existed! I didn't really know MYSELF all that great. I was so busy I lost parts if myself along the way. So, no I don't think mrs blakesteele knew all of me......and I didn't know all of her.

Codependency is NOT sinister (usually). Not inherently evil....no good vs bad thing. In our case it was done out if what we knew what love was. Ignorance played a large part of this. Still, it's destructive forces don't care about the motivations behind them.....they produce the same fruit.

It's possible your husband doesn't know you as well as he could. It will be for you to decide if you want to show him more of you.....make yourself more vulnerable to him.

It takes courage and faith to do this. Lots of pain involved in all of our M's here on SI. Pain from adultery AND from our other destructive choices and actions.

Thanks for chiming in.

Gid is with us all.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
ItsaClimb
Member
Member # 37107
Default  Posted: 7:17 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

Peace makers strive for radical honesty. Peace is made through the use of truth and open expressions. No hidden meaning, no manipulations.

This is why (I think) we feel strangely ok now when we disagree or say no. We know it is healthy. We know that it is honest. This sets the stage for a genuineness to once again be a part of our M. I believe it will result in healthy mature intimacy.

^^This exactly!


BS 46
Together 29 yrs, M 25 years
2 daughters 24yo(married with a brand new little daughter) & 19yo
D-Day 18 Aug 2012
6mth EA lead to 4mth PA with CO-W. I found out 8 1/2 yrs later

Posts: 944 | Registered: Oct 2012
DixieD
Member
Member # 33457
Default  Posted: 7:35 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

ItsaClimb, are we related? I was reading along and nodding my head.

Probably the most difficult aspect is keeping my nose out of everyone else's issues. The attitude around here has always been "itsaclimb will sort it out", the minute anyone has an issue, no matter how big or small and no matter whether or not it involves me, I would climb right in and fix it. I now have to sit on my hands and steel myself to stay out of it, let them fix it. Finding the balance is SO hard.

Oh, how I can relate to that. Yes, ingrained from childhood. It's so hard to reach that balance. I'm the youngest of my siblings and they still look to me first when dealing with our parents for example. My husband says I give off this vibe of just having all the answers, and it's felt like it's my job to take care of it. Yeah, that had/has to stop.

For one thing, I was depriving others of developing problem solving skills and personal responsibility/accountability. I wasn't helping them and it was feeding a twisted KISA issue in myself. My husband didn't have many problem solving skills because he looked to me first too, and I had to step back and let him step up and come up with solutions to fix things that were really his responsibility, like our marriage. If I hadn't done that, how was he going to grow up and emotional mature, which desperately needed to happen.

Wishing both you and I and all the other people who struggle with this, the best of luck with it. It's not easy.

Thanks for another interesting/thought provoking post Blake. It is amazing when you truly start to communicate and resentment, which took root in the middle of a marriage and became the main third party in it, just isn't there anymore. All the best to you and your wife.


Growing forward

Posts: 1767 | Registered: Sep 2011
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 8:02 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

Thanks for the kind words and well wishes DixieD.


In my last IC session my therapist very firmly reminded me I can't do the work for my brother that he needs to do. I can see him nibbling at it....and that usually starts a full on assist from me! See? No one actually ASKS for my help....I just jump in and do. It is not healthy.

The healthy, loving thing to do would be support those who are choosing to do for themselves while NOT doing a lions share of whatever for them.

I am learning to sit on my hands in staff meetings. In the past I would actively jump into whatever needed done.

I know there is a nuance here....a line between a solid work ethic and codependent choices...still working on that. That is why the therapist nudged me in my choices with my brother.....am struggling to love him in healthy ways.


Dang....I might need to re-read Codependent No More. I THINK I am breaking this cycle....really enjoying my interactions with my wife....but this is really ingrained in me.

ItsAclimb...thanks for the reminder that the roles do move back and forth. A reminder my wife gave me last night too.

I am hopeful that with both of us aware of this that we will stand less of a chance of having the cycle restart in our M. Also hopeful we can assist each other in other parts of our lives to keep this from happening.....kind of like a spotter who has our backs.

That is what a healthy marriage is. We are getting there.


Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 8:04 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

To me....


sitting on my hands = being still.


Wife got me a wall hanging that says

"Be still and know that I am God"


I look at it every morning. I am learning how to do this.

It is not a natural state for me. But it is a healthy skill to develop.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
ItsaClimb
Member
Member # 37107
Default  Posted: 10:19 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

For one thing, I was depriving others of developing problem solving skills and personal responsibility/accountability. I wasn't helping them and it was feeding a twisted KISA issue in myself. My husband didn't have many problem solving skills because he looked to me first too, and I had to step back and let him step up and come up with solutions to fix things that were really his responsibility, like our marriage. If I hadn't done that, how was he going to grow up and emotional mature, which desperately needed to happen.

^^ so, so true. One of the problems with co-dependency is that although we might think we are being "good", "kind", "helpful" etc, the motivation to do these things is generally not goodness, kindness, or helpfulness.. it's a twisted, toxic force that is motivating us and to top it, we are actually NOT helping the other person at all, instead we are feeding their helplessness. So messed up!

I can see how I fed this ugly "mother/child" dynamic between my husband and I by always leaping in and being the responsible one, fixing his messes, smoothing his path, guiding him. Not long ago I blurted out in MC that "I want to be his lover, not his mother" and that has become a bit of a mantra for me... I have to wonder if that right there wasn't a small factor in his "why".... I had become the safe, solid, dependable, responsible "mother-figure"...rather like a pair of Bridget Jones panties, whereas OW was the sexy, passionate, exciting "lover-figure"...a really hot thong... not excusing him by any means, but I do think it may have been a (small) factor.


BS 46
Together 29 yrs, M 25 years
2 daughters 24yo(married with a brand new little daughter) & 19yo
D-Day 18 Aug 2012
6mth EA lead to 4mth PA with CO-W. I found out 8 1/2 yrs later

Posts: 944 | Registered: Oct 2012
DixieD
Member
Member # 33457
Default  Posted: 10:58 AM, May 27th (Tuesday)

We definitely had a mother/child dynamic going on and it's related directly to FOO. I was expected to behave like an adult when I was a child. I have a well-established parent role (still ongoing unfortunately) with my own parents -- like that isn't messed up. And my husband was kept as a child. His parents, especially his mother, wanted him to stay her 'little boy' forever. The more juvenile he acted, the more attention/reward he would get from her. Really twisted.

It all fit together like a dysfunctional glove. Although I didn't want to be his mother and it irked the hell out of me and it was something I saw about him early on and I didn't find it attractive. I remember saying many times. -- I'm not your mother. After dday that was my mantra. I wouldn't check his email or monitor him. I wasn't going to be play mother or warden. If he wanted to be a fully engaged safe partner, it wasn't going to be because I forced him. It had to be his choice.

IMO, my husband's affair was tied into a P/A, victim, immature mentality and had a lot to do with rebellion that he'd manufactured in his own mind. His AP was CoD on steroids. I'm very healthy in comparison. AP was very pushy and manipulative. When we first met, I too was pushy (and probably could manipulate him too. I know I can now in some ways and he knows it too, and we watch out for that)….and his mother is pushy and manipulative. There's a pattern there.

I wouldn't engage the way his mother would. He couldn't replay his childhood issues with me to their fullest and that was a disappointment. AP was exactly like his PD mother. It was quite a horrifying shock for him to realize he basically had an affair with his mother.

Not wanting to behave like either of them has been a big motivator for me to change my behavior.

[This message edited by DixieD at 12:12 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]


Growing forward

Posts: 1767 | Registered: Sep 2011
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 12:55 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)

Wow. So much to relate to here. It is hard to know where to start.
I have met parts of blakesteele I didn't know existed! I didn't really know MYSELF all that great. I was so busy I lost parts if myself along the way. So, no I don't think mrs blakesteele knew all of me......and I didn't know all of her.
< This is the thing about codependency, right? You can be so enmeshed in each other; but have no real intimacy at all. I could pinpoint each one of WH's problems and have solutions ready before he even knew they existed. In my mind this meant I was taking care of him and taking care of the marriage. Ummm, not so much.

DixieD and Blake, thanks for including this:

I wish I could draw a diagram here......
Picture a box.

Top left corner is "Independent"....acting on our own.

Top right corner is "codependent....acting together but someone is being lost in this interaction.

Back and forth we go....light bonding is all that is ever accomplished. No deep intimacy.

Bottom left corner is "false intimacy".....something that attempts to fill a void not being filled by two spouse going back and forth between those upper corners. False intimacy could be a career, kids, porn, adultery, alcohol, etc. this feels GREAT at first......very liberating. After all you broke away from an aggravating cycle. YOU are "finding what you have been missing". Some stay here.....WS choosing adultery, SA choosing porn, alcoholic choosing beer.

Bottom right corner is "interdependence". This is were two healthy, stand alone people intentionally engage one another. Mutual respect, radical honesty, true vulnerability is expressed back and forth. Real, mature bonding and intimacy takes place and GROWS!

It just so clearly describes my marriage. So much enmeshment and back and forth codependency. Then I found false intimacy in our children and he found it in a host of other things culminating in the A.

Codependence was all that was modeled for me; and that was from my one "healthy" parent I have to say that the journey OUT of this way of living has been so liberating. I honestly feel like I can breath more easily.

The boundaries piece of it has been the most difficult for me. They were never modeled at all. Respecting others has been one thing, but voicing my own; and enforcing them with those who don't respect them...that gives me an anxiety attack just thinking about it.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 452 | Registered: Dec 2012
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 2:18 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)

Itsaclimb....I felt like copying and pasting your entire post. It so resonates with me.


To almost all other posters on this thread....

It appears a common denominator within us all is the "growing up fast" we all had to do....my wife included.

I listened to Dr. Meg Meekers on the radio recently. During her presentation she made the comment that children who are forced to grow up fast are largely normal, but the speed in which they grew up had them skip emotional and spiritual steps in order to do so. The lack of adult nurturing and caring leaves children to their own accord to figure things out.

My wife grew up fast....I grew up fast. We were praised for our maturity, complimented for the many wonderful examples of how we were so competent so early on.

This adds to our confusion......

On the outside we were as the world told us we were. Afterall, that is what our FOO coping mechs do right? They mask our true self.

On the inside there was still this scared, confused, hurt little child.

Visualizations exercises in therapy have helped me work through comforting and healing the 12 year old blakesteele in me that was rarely comforted. It has helped me heal....and get the various parts of me closer together.

It is said the longest journey a man takes on is the journey between his mind and his heart.

I am sorry we all have to go on this journey, but am grateful we have the opportunity to choose to go on it. KWIM?

I could not choose this path pre-A because I didn't know it existed, didn't know I needed to go on it.

Althea....glad this example has helped you too.

I used false intimacy pre-A too....big one was porn, but to some extent my career was too. I also am very task oriented.....taken to extreme it is a form of false intimacy too. Children were going to be another one we both reached for. My wife had her own independent desires that she reached for as well.....reading fantasy books, her business (something she embraced in earnest after my DD...a form of false intimacy), hobby of running (which was used to propogate her affair, and of course....adultery.


"A broken marriage is a symptom of someone who chooses adultery....adultery is not a symptom of a broken marriage"
our current therapist.

Not slamming WS here. replace "adultery" with "porn use" "kid centric" "workaholism" "alcoholism"....any other form of false intimacy and it works the same.

This brokenness within my wife, within me existed long before we even met...let alone married.

I believe we dabbled enough with false intimacy so as to keep real growth from occurring. It kept the uncomfortablness of having to grow at bay. KWIM?

It was "acceptable" by both of us. Again....I think it is a rare case where codependency is born from pure evil.


Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 2:30 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)

"Do you ever feel like your Mom failed your Dad?"


A question put to me by my wife as we discussed their divorce.

I had not thought of it like this before....but, yes, I do think my Mom failed my Dad (and Dad failed Mom).

Instead of being open and honest within their relationship they would hold back and expect the other to just know what to do. Codependent cycles commenced! One would take the other would give, and vice versa. Combine that with both of THEIR tendencies to reach for false intimacies (Mom writing one romance story after another, Dad using porn) and the fruit that was produced was a given. Their M ended after my Dad chose adultery.


Now....if just one of them would have said "Enough! This is not working for me. I will change." it would have at least ushered in the opportunity for the other to say "yes I love you and will support you...love you as you change.".....opportunities would have appeared that were previously hidden. On the flip side the other COULD have responded to the others change with a "no I don't love you and we will divorce because I can't support you in your change and will not love you if you do change." Instead, they D....with very little work or expression taking place.

NOTE: I was 11-12 when this happened. My knowledge of what actually happened in their M is limited....mostly from direct questions to each of them20=30 years post-D. But by all indications, radical honesty was NOT an option for them. Their M was "too far gone, too much damage to repair". This, by the way, was the exact same line my brother told me when he and his wife decided to D. See how cycles repeat themselves?


So here we are......mrs blakesteele not getting all she needs or desires, blakesteele not getting all I need or desire. Both hurting from intentional wronging and unintenional wounding by the other. Yet, we are working on ourselves and our M.

Why?

The million dollar question....with lots of answers.

But to tie the answer to this specific post on this thread......we are choosing to love each other. Love as a CHOICE. It is from this choice that we are offering the opportunity to the other to attempt to meet the others needs and desires.

Our pre-A M had lots of FOO influences.....but this idea, this choice is absolutely outside of the "normal formula" for our FOO.

Our therapist said we are a poster couple for what therapy can do!

We challenge that and say "We sure don't feel comfortable with that praise".

Her response?

"Well thats because it is so new to you both. Trust me, you are changing and the fruits will be good and healthy. Your girls are blessed beyond belief by your willingness to do what you have done and continue to choose to do."


I pray our M and family are restored. I believe God hates D and cherishes family. I have also been sufficiently humbled so as to NOT profess to know all the answers.....faith has a role in R.

22 months out and I am getting peeks of good things on the horizon.

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 2:43 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)]


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
Mama3030
New Member
Member # 42553
Default  Posted: 7:00 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)

You are so helpful and I have the book on my night stand. You encouraged me to see a counselor and I'm seeing one this week.


It took me a long, LONG time to realize how CoD I was on my H. I knew I was financially dependent on him, as a stay-at-home wife and mother. But I didn't realize how emotionally dependent on him I was.

For me it is hard to separate what is healthy and unhealthy, and that is why I need this book Thank you so much!


WH 42
BS (me) 33
3 kids- 6. 4, infant

Together 13 years, married for 8

DDAY 2/21/14


Posts: 42 | Registered: Feb 2014
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 7:25 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)

You're welcome Mama3030. It does my heart good to see you so early on finding your way to healthy choices!

It bodes well for you personally.

Keep posting!

God is with us all.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
peoplepleaser
Member
Member # 41535
Default  Posted: 10:28 PM, May 27th (Tuesday)

Backtracking a bit, but that radical honesty resonated with me. I think that's the issue. It's not happening. I need to be able to share my feelings based on where I am and what is. It's not an indication of present failure, but of recovering from nauseating past failure. WS is just not there. Present feelings about her past failure are interpreted as present failures. On some level that may be true, but only after I don't get the reassurance or compassion or validation I need. They exist initially because if the consequences of past failure that cannot be changed. Once she gets this I think we will be in a better position to heal...both of us. I continue to believe that her actions, while disgusting and disrespectful to me as an unsuspecting spouse, were traumatizing to both of us. Until she's on it with me, instead of outside attempting to coach me through, we will not be in a position to heal together in the rejationship.


WS: 38--2 EAs
BS: 38--me, faithful
DS: 5
8 year relationship in R.
DDay #1: September 6, 2013 EA for 5 weeks August 2013.
DDay #2: January 2, 2014 EA for 6 weeks summer 2011.
"I am still learning." -Michelangelo

Posts: 547 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: Midwest
realitybites
Member
Member # 6908
Default  Posted: 6:26 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

To back track a bit as well this was/is so true with me:

The more CoD I became, just happened to coincide with the more P/A my husband became….I was using my precious energy to work on improving his life and career and tip-toe around his moods (which was futile) while not giving much thought to what I wanted anymore. If there was a problem, I would fix it. If he was bothered by something, I'd have the solution….and then I'd be frustrated when he would sit back and complain over and over again about the same thing, yet do nothing to correct it.

If he was happy, that was good enough for me. If he was successful, I was proud of him and shared in that success (behind the scenes of course) and that was all that mattered. It meant life would be easier and I'd help him achieve his goals. I wanted his life to be the best it could be. What wrong with that, right?

Well, I didn't know what I wanted anymore, and worse yet it didn't really matter to me. The life was being sucked out of me, but I didn't see it and if I did I sure didn't know why. I didn't even look at the fact that I was unhappy and frustrated and that living with him had become just so damn difficult. Trying to work around his P/A moods/behavior, instead of looking in the mirror at myself to realize I was feeding the monster plus depriving myself.

What I would add to this is that the complete unbalance happens when the CoDep person grows and matures BECAUSE they learn to handle all problems or issues, or let me just say they just handle things right or wrong. Where the P/A partner actually gets stuck in their lack of maturity so really buckles down in STAYING a P/A. The battles ensue and they get furious with their BS but now feel they need a new source to make them feel good since the BS cannot anymore. It has become far to unbalanced.

Rinse wash repeat as we say on here all the time.

I will also say that the BS can figure out with IC and books and learning because in essance they have always been a problem solver so they will learn. If acknowleged. The WS who is a P/A is a much harder trickier issue to take care of because of the dynamic of them not knowing how to solve a problem.


Posts: 5632 | Registered: Apr 2005 | From: florida
brokensmile322
Member
Member # 35758
Default  Posted: 6:59 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)


The WS who is a P/A is a much harder trickier issue to take care of because of the dynamic of them not knowing how to solve a problem.

Yes. And my WH being conflict avoidant as well, he would rather push it aside and move on, then look deep at himself. It causes him anxiety.


Me BS 42 Him WS 44
OW Coworker DDay April 7, 2012
EA on a slippery slope...

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Viktor Frankl

"When you are happy, you can forgive a great deal."


Posts: 1442 | Registered: Jun 2012
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 7:20 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

I will also say that the BS can figure out with IC and books and learning because in essance they have always been a problem solver so they will learn. If acknowleged. The WS who is a P/A is a much harder trickier issue to take care of because of the dynamic of them not knowing how to solve a problem.


Interestingly enough...our first therapist said almost this exact paragraph to me once.

Passive aggressive....interesting tie in here too.

I have learned that some people will say they will do something and then...."forget". Some of this is a persons natural forgetfullness but some has a tie into passive aggressiveness. Kind of a I'll do for you when I am ready to....but is not that sinister. It is somewhat influenced from a subconcious need to remain independent....a fear of real intimacy. Mix in some resentment...either for the spouse directly or from the FOO or other life experiences, a fear of conflict and you have all the ingredients to start a P/A cycle.

My wife has a pattern of doing this. I see it aggravate her (she gets upset with herself when she forgets...she is aware of her possible P/A nature), I don't think it is wholly intentional....but their is a link here to our destructive wash, rinse, repeat cycle of our past. (I sometimes wonder if the love-buster "sarcasm" is a form of P/A...something I have used before. I am working hard on leaving that tool on the shelf as I see it not nearly as funny as I once did.)

The therapist that started leading me into this nuance of P/A is no longer our therapist.....so I'm not sure where she was going to go with this.

I DO know that radical honesty will also break this pattern. If my wife feels like being independent....I trust she will say "no" to a request from me. If I feel sarcasm "warranted" I reach for what the heart of that sarcastic comment would be and find healthy ways to express it. KWIM?


To be sure I am talking about very small tasks/promises.....bringing me an iced tea from McD's, paying a utility bill, reading and responding to an email from me. The big ticket items generally are addressed....its the small things where P/A can and usually do show up. A theory on this is that P/A people are afraid of conflict. Ignoring, or letting promises go unfullfilled, on small things stands little chance of real conflict. After all, its just an iced tea from McD's. Big things however, when those promises are not followed through on, cause large conflicts.....a P/A worst nightmare. Facing conflict head on! They will do big things that they don't want to in an effort to avoid conflict, but then harbor resentment that leads to those small promises being "forgot" more and more.


Note: It is nice to be working on real problems in my M. 22 months out here. The A dominated my focus for a long time. I am now starting to really understand that adultery was a symptom, not the problem within our M. I pray my wife continues to find, accept and grow through her destructive patterns. I pray the same for me, and for all on SI.

This post has been good for that. I am comforted by ya'lls willingness to share and challenge what I am sharing.

God is with us all.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:19 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)]


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 7:27 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

I wonder if their is a sickness in me......


The more I read real-life case studies and see "blakesteele" in others....the more I want to read and see how it all ties together.

Many of these treks involve pretty distasteful parts of me.....parts that I was hiding from myself.

These treks start like this.

Thank God I am not like THAT!

.....peek again......

Ok, maybe I am kinda like that.

....look....

Crap.....I am more like that then I thought....but its not that bad...right?


STARE


HOLY CRAP.....how could I have been so blind. Yep, that is a real part of me......wow.


SIT. Pray. Deep breath.


Okay, so that was how I operated. Here is what I told myself I was doing, here is what I was really doing. How can I do what I THOUGHT I was doing?


....and the real work starts.


Takes me months to complete that process.

Once I do it is very liberating!!!!

It also appears I am a "money pit"! I finish one project...and another instantly appears.

It is said the closer you grow towards God, the more you will see within yourself that requires renovation. I am living that reality.


I am grateful I have learned the difference between being condemned and being convicted. One is continued bondage, the other allows for growth and healing (change).

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
cantaccept
Member
Member # 37451
Default  Posted: 7:52 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

Good morning Blake,

Codependent??? absolutely, no doubt about it, 100%, I was. I didn't even exist except for to serve.

Something you said in one of the earlier posts on this thread, that one can change but it takes both to create a healthy relationship.

After dday #1, I began to change, didn't really know what I was changing but knew that I needed to find me, value me, be me.

I changed, he did not, he was actually intimidated by the changes in me. I think it actually played a role in his choosing to have a second affair. He wanted me to be the same, compliant, easy going, rug sweeping. I could not, no more, once you see you cannot unsee. He resorted to his old coping mechanisms, numbing.

He just started posting. He is becoming introspective. He says he wants to change. We will see what these changes mean.

I just finished "Codependent NO More". Helped to clarify a lot and also to help me not feel guilty for protecting myself.

Foo issues for sure.

I have missed reading your posts. I had to stay away mostly, it was too painful.

Good to read you again.

Can


Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.

I would now like to be known as Can!

dday October 21,2012
dday December 20, 2013
wh boots5050
attempted R, it was all a lie

Divorced 8/5/14


Posts: 1310 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Connecticut
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 8:09 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

I changed, he did not, he was actually intimidated by the changes in me. I think it actually played a role in his choosing to have a second affair. He wanted me to be the same, compliant, easy going, rug sweeping. I could not, no more, once you see you cannot unsee. He resorted to his old coping mechanisms, numbing.


I witnessed this similar occurrence in my marriage.

The whole can't unsee what you have seen idea? Totally get that. And I am referring to internal viewing of myself and my actions for what they really are. Didn't like what I saw....the pain of staying the same was too much....so I decided to change. And change I have!

First 2 months I tried and tried to NOT see what I was seeing......didn't want to see that my wife was actively choosing adultery over her M to me, didn't want to see the destruction of our M and family, didn't want to see that I had any role in this destruction.....I soooo wanted to look away. And for two months after DD, I did look away.

Just delayed healing.

Sadly, the light of truth is too much for some to bear. They retreat back into the darkness as it is more comfortable and easier. Comfortable and easy....isn't that a core characteristic of adultery....of all sin really?

Sorry my posts have been too painful....glad to see you post on here.

I also dig your ending nickname.....shows forward progress and growth.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
seenow
Member
Member # 40720
Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

It has taken me a couple of days to fully read this whole string because it made me uncomfortable and thoughtful. Is there such thing as a co-dependent fog?

I haven't read Co-dependent No More yet, but have ordered it. I have a few thoughts that may seem naïve, but hey, I just opened this door so tell me what you all think:

I don't think I am naturally co-d but have been conditioned and manipulated into it (and allowed it). It's like his sickness/damage leaves a hole in him that a co-d fits perfectly. When I stopped to some extent fitting that hole he found an AP that would. I became that oh so independent person in a marriage with no intimacy.

I still see that I lost myself by using all of my energy taking care of our life. But I think it is my life too that I am caring for. Maybe it's not. Yikes. This is hard.


ME: BS mid 40's
Him: WH mid 40's
DDay 5/13 5 year LTA, ONS
together 25 yrs
1 kiddo

Posts: 288 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: mountain west
DixieD
Member
Member # 33457
Default  Posted: 8:54 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

Where the P/A partner actually gets stuck in their lack of maturity so really buckles down in STAYING a P/A. The battles ensue and they get furious with their BS but now feel they need a new source to make them feel good since the BS cannot anymore. It has become far to unbalanced.

I can see that. It gets worse before it gets better. As I mentioned earlier, I got sick and was dealing with a chronic illness. With that illness I was more self-absorbed in the beginning. Survival was a priority and I didn't have the time/effort/energy to focus solely on my husband as he wanted. Plus, I needed him and at first he liked that, but after a while he became more scared and resentful.

Eventually came personal emotional growth for me. I fought it actually, but when something like that happens, it changes a person. It changes priorities and outlooks. I was different. That also scared my husband on many levels. He became more self-absorbed and P/A and needed to find a new source because I wasn't as willing to play the same old role. Although I was being a CoD/enabler, I just wasn't being enough of one in his mind I suppose.

When the trauma of dday hit, it felt like I lost all the positive ground I'd made and it was slow to get it back.

P/A is a whole other issue. I've realized my father is very P/A, I can see it now and he definitely pushes my buttons and sucks me into to it. I didn't think my husband and father were anything alike. I was wrong. The older my husband got the more P/A and similar to my father he became. My husband has worked really hard on his P/A behavior and I don't see it from him anymore.

It's hard for my husband to be around his mother now because he sees the similarities/manipulation tactics AP used and it's repulsive to him. And if I see any similarities in myself to that I shudder. Hard for me to be around my father too because I see the similarities to how my husband used to act and I have no patience for that.


Growing forward

Posts: 1767 | Registered: Sep 2011
sadone29
Member
Member # 38597
Default  Posted: 8:58 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

I'm definitely a classic codependent. Since DD, I've come to the realization that I am myself an alcoholic. Because I distanced myself from my old addict life, and basically isolated myself from the outside world (so I could avoid alcohol whenever possible), I denied I had problems.
So in my brokenness, I found another broken person to take care of and be taken care of. He didn't question my anxiety, didn't push me to deal with my own sickness, and in return, I allowed him to distance himself from me and the kids. I didn't know that it was because he had his own hidden addiction. But, I let him carry on without questioning him. I wasn't self aware enough to really face that things weren't right.

I'm not sure if I belong in R again. We're actually doing well, but we are giving each other space to heal ourselves. I know I love him. And I see the changes in him, and it makes me happy for him. It's been enough for now. I'm tired of trying to run to the finish line.

I'm reading a good book right now called The Spirituality of Imperfection. I see now how I've denied my own humanity. That I tried to control things that are out of my control. It's time to allow myself to be imperfect. It's time to forgive.


"I move slow and steady, but I feel like a waterfall."

Posts: 659 | Registered: Mar 2013
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 9:00 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

Hi Seenow.

Sorry this post is making you uncomfortable....if it helps, seeing parts of myself (the parts that made this post possible) was very uncomfortable too! What man wants to think he could choose as I have chosen?

But that uncomfortablness is necessary to instigate change. Pain of same has to be greater then the pain of change for change to occur.

We can only change ourselves, we can't change others. (God has a role in our change, but we have to choose to change first).

Couple of thoughts to your post...

When I stopped to some extent fitting that hole he found an AP that would.

Caution: That smells a little like you taking some responsibility for his choices. I also believe the flip side of this occurs. When a person decides they don't want to do what they have done in the past (be a taker or a giver) they reach for something else. So even if you didn't change.....your husband could still opt to seek out adultery. You could not love him more, have more sex, give him more space...nothing you could have done would have prevented him from choosing adultery. Whatever his "why" is was within him long before he met you.

I became that oh so independent person in a marriage with no intimacy.

And this is the counter-side of co-dependent....a spouse who is largely removed and distant.


Reminder.....these roles do indeed move back and forth. You can't be codependent and independent at the same time....it is one or the other.

Interdependence is something that exists within both spouses at the same time....in a healthy relationship. See the "square" post on this thread to better visualize how various cycles operate.


Independent----codependent. Pretty common path back and forth in both my wife and I.

Then we would get tired of that and reach for false intimacy...both used porn, wife read fantasy novels, she chose adultery, I put a priority on my career, kids were going to be the next intimacy blocker for us.......the cycle was going to continue.

Until we felt really uncomfortable. For us....it took my wife choosing adultery for the pain to be traumatic enough for us to say.....
ENOUGH!!!!!


Hope this helps.

Keep posting. This is tough crap.....way too much for any one person to handle. God understands this...fellowship is needed. Reaching outside oneself is needed. It is a fool that thinks the same twisted minds that created our sitch are the same ones that will get us out....it won't happen without reaching out to others, finding new inputs to change the outputs.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
Althea
Member
Member # 37765
Default  Posted: 9:03 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

They will do big things that they don't want to in an effort to avoid conflict, but then harbor resentment that leads to those small promises being "forgot" more and more.
ding ding ding ding.

At our worst, it became unacceptable for me to ask ANYTHING of WH. It was never communicated, but if I ever dared to suggest he might try to come home early to spend time as a family (by early I mean 5:30 rather than 7pm), he would say he'd try and then I could 100% count on him coming home LATER than usual that night. I think of it now and it disgusts me.

Blake, I too feel like I have found a bottomless pit of self work to do. Be forgiving of yourself, and the child who was wounded. Life is a journey. If you are open without self judgement or shame, the journey is easier. I try to live by this, and it truly helps.


Taking it one day at a time.

Posts: 452 | Registered: Dec 2012
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 9:04 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

I'm reading a good book right now called The Spirituality of Imperfection. I see now how I've denied my own humanity. That I tried to control things that are out of my control. It's time to allow myself to be imperfect. It's time to forgive.

Thanks Sadone29.


My own spiritual growth (and thirst for it) has shown light on my own desire to control and be perfect....two things I am examining closely next.....thanks for the book reference.

I also liked how you explained how you and your husband fit together....my wife and I fit together too.

I think you belong in R.....that distance and space you speak of is healthy as long as neither of you are reaching for false intimacy to fill a void that God designed you each to fill within each other.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
sadone29
Member
Member # 38597
Default  Posted: 9:23 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

Thanks blakesteele.

It's difficult to know what is healthy, since I've never experienced it.
H is going through a tough phase in his recovery at the moment. I feel for him, but I also don't feel like I have to help him or control his pain in any way. Realizing that that may actually be the healthy way is really nice. I don't have to join him on his rollercoaster, and its freeing. I have my own rollercoaster to deal with!


"I move slow and steady, but I feel like a waterfall."

Posts: 659 | Registered: Mar 2013
peoplepleaser
Member
Member # 41535
Default  Posted: 9:51 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

The discussion on control and P/A is interesting.

About control, I was a but confused. Being vey open and overt, I come across as controlling, but as my WS pointed out the other night I simply like things to be my way.

Control for the co-d seems to lie behind the scenes. For WS it is more of control over emotions and feeling unsafe or helpless when results aren't immediate, when help is not needed or when needs are requested rather than allowing the meeting of anticipated and unspoken needs to be fulfilling enough. Both EAs occurred during times she felt ineffective. The first was when I was very depressed after miscarriages and beng harassed at work. I remember her eventually telling me to suck it up and that I was sucking the breath out of her life. That I was her fun and I took that from her. The second time I had been focusing on meeting my own needs and improving my self esteem by working out, eating healthy and becoming more self aware. During that time she complained that I did what I wanted regardless of family time, however I was doing my workouts at 5 am when it didn't interfere. Looking back here I see her saying, you don't need me.

I hadn't considered her "forgetting" or other behaviors as P/A before, but adding that lens is offering a new perspective. Can see how she forgets things important to me that are needs I've expressed. It seems to imply that I should have been happy with what she gave me that I never asked for. It also illuminates the accusations of me being selfish. I can see how she thought that, as she was working so hard to anticipate what I wanted while sacrificing her wants. How dare I ask for (in her mind) more. From my perspective, I didn't ask much. I had no idea what she was sacrificing because she wasn't talking. From her perspective I should have been paying attention to that. Ugh. It's a mess.

So the dynamic in R is very complicated. Lots on here discuss the BS as co-d. It seems an easier way to go about R, though it's tough no matter what. In my relationship I have a co-d WS who is still uncovering the grand scheme of how the behaviors influenced her perspective or way if "knowing" me. It wasn't an accurate representation of who I am. While my behaviors remain the same, the intent applied to them by her are horrible skewed.

So here I am, damaged and heartbroken and needing some openness, genuineness, humility, remorse and compassion. I need it from a WS who is burnt from attempts to provide compassion to a great fault. A WS who has never been open and genuine. One who avoids conflict at a great cost to herself. Someone who is practicing sharing her needs, thoughts and emotions...at times when I am feeling least capable of responding well to them (usually in response to my expression of feelings without showing remorse, understanding, or compassion first). The resentment is still in her. It's interfering with us healing together from the EAs. It's feeding a continuation of her skewed idea of my intentions. I don't know how to work on the relationship while I still can't trust. I don't know how to build trust in the face of her resentment. I can't heal IN the relationship (I can do it by myself in spite of the relationship) without remorse, compassion and reassurance. So I'm not sure what to do with all that.

[This message edited by peoplepleaser at 9:57 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)]


WS: 38--2 EAs
BS: 38--me, faithful
DS: 5
8 year relationship in R.
DDay #1: September 6, 2013 EA for 5 weeks August 2013.
DDay #2: January 2, 2014 EA for 6 weeks summer 2011.
"I am still learning." -Michelangelo

Posts: 547 | Registered: Dec 2013 | From: Midwest
seenow
Member
Member # 40720
Default  Posted: 11:32 AM, May 28th (Wednesday)

Thank you blakesteele!!!!!


ME: BS mid 40's
Him: WH mid 40's
DDay 5/13 5 year LTA, ONS
together 25 yrs
1 kiddo

Posts: 288 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: mountain west
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 12:33 PM, May 28th (Wednesday)

(((Althea))) for this....

Be forgiving of yourself, and the child who was wounded. Life is a journey. If you are open without self judgement or shame, the journey is easier. I try to live by this, and it truly helps.

...a gentle reminder to me, and to the others reading this post.

I loose sight of this at times....."being still" and resting is a choice, an action even though it is not ACTIVE.

Several therapists have reminded me of this as well.

It is valuable, healthy advice.

Thanks.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 12:42 PM, May 28th (Wednesday)

It's difficult to know what is healthy, since I've never experienced it.

Totally agree. Thus, our marriage was one of default. We knew what we didn't want...but what did we want? How do we get there? What does it look like when we do?

That is what we are learning now. Reading, prayer, turning towards each other in radical honest ways, and therapy are helping our vision become clearer.

We are hardly alone in our FOO. Look how many people come from D'ed homes, broken homes of all sorts.

When I asked our pastor to put me in contact with any man who had survived adultery in his marriage....he could not. We are a throw away society. Pastor could put me in contact with a guy who survived D after his wife chose adultery....


Reading helps me. Biblical principles are my point of reference now. For most of my life I looked around me....used others as my gauge of "healthy".

Most every man I know used porn.

I was more involved with my family and children then a lot of my male friends...even watched some of their kids so our wives could have a girls night out.

We were doing sooooo much better than our parents....hardly fought (her FOO) I didn' cheat on my wife (my FOO), we were debt free.(both FOO).


So we were healthy....right?

sigh.

This WAS my measuring stick.

Fear influenced so much of our daily lives.


Please keep in mind folks.....I think it is the extreme couple that take this codependent cycle to into the sinister, manipulative level. I really believe most do this out of ignorance. A lack of knowledge, not a sinful nature. KWIM?

Good post....like the varied posts.

God is with us all.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 1:06 PM, May 28th (Wednesday)

(((peoplepleaser)))

I am understanding your struggle more and more...and that process is helping me understand my struggle. Thank you for sharing openly.

I remember her eventually telling me to suck it up and that I was sucking the breath out of her life. That I was her fun and I took that from her.

I have been struggling with a relationship with my Dad for years...really, since he abandoned me at age 12. My wife got tired of hearing my struggles and had her own "suck it up" talk with me. I can see how this has a tie to resentment....me openly struggling with her, meanwhile she having to hold her own struggles in. Not saying I forced her to hold them in, but she held her struggles close to her chest....a factor of COA? Perhaps. Still listening to what she is willing to share, what she has uncovered about herself. But codependent roles switched around in our M for sure.


I hadn't considered her "forgetting" or other behaviors as P/A before, but adding that lens is offering a new perspective. Can see how she forgets things important to me that are needs I've expressed. It seems to imply that I should have been happy with what she gave me that I never asked for. It also illuminates the accusations of me being selfish. I can see how she thought that, as she was working so hard to anticipate what I wanted while sacrificing her wants. How dare I ask for (in her mind) more. From my perspective, I didn't ask much. I had no idea what she was sacrificing because she wasn't talking. From her perspective I should have been paying attention to that. Ugh. It's a mess.

I can also see how my more open (still not radically honest though) style generated the above dynamic in our M too. Her feeling "blakesteele gets all he wants, while I have to settle for so little." meanwhile, I am completely in the dark because her persona was one of "complete control, I am stable, I need nothing, I need no one.". For my wife, reaching out and expressing a need was a serious weakness. She witnessed her Mom do this to her alcoholic Dad time and again...and get hurt by it. They had their own, even more seriously codependent thing going on.

And, from my perspective, it seemed like I asked for very little too.

NOTE: I was more open but not radically honest. Key key point. I did things for my wife...things that appeared totally supportive and loving. And, like so much of this, there are components of those noble traits to this interaction. But I NOW see that I would "do for" my wife so I would not be in a position for my wife to choose to NOT need me. My abandonment fears were/are huge. I would deny I even wanted my wife to join us at the pool after work....my persona said to my wife "Look, I am cool...you just stay home and do what you want...I'll take the girls to the pool". Just like me above, my wife had no idea what I was really desiring and needing. How could she, I was fooling and denying my own self!


So the dynamic in R is very complicated. Lots on here discuss the BS as co-d. It seems an easier way to go about R, though it's tough no matter what. In my relationship I have a co-d WS who is still uncovering the grand scheme of how the behaviors influenced her perspective or way if "knowing" me. It wasn't an accurate representation of who I am. While my behaviors remain the same, the intent applied to them by her are horrible skewed.


Similar actions now...but with very different motivations behind them. That is what I am observing. I NOW recognize my need to connect and be with my wife, but I also choose to love her by taking care of our girls for a bit while she has her alone time. The fact that I recognize I even have that need to be with my wife as a husband and lover (not just a provider and problem solver) is HUGE to me. The next big step was to express that need to her WITHOUT any demands, sarcasm or P/A bull shit associated with it.

Point is.....same actions take on a whole new meaning when the motivations under them move from false and controlling to true and freeing$.

I am curious....do you think your roles in the codependent cycle ever moved around? Early on my wife very much lost herself to me and my mood. Later, the roles were switched. I almost think it happened within the same week sometimes too. Kinda hard to remember our past with any clarity now though..... Just curious if you think you were always the taker and she the giver?


So here I am, damaged and heartbroken and needing some openness, genuineness, humility, remorse and compassion. I need it from a WS who is burnt from attempts to provide compassion to a great fault. A WS who has never been open and genuine. One who avoids conflict at a great cost to herself. Someone who is practicing sharing her needs, thoughts and emotions...at times when I am feeling least capable of responding well to them (usually in response to my expression of feelings without showing remorse, understanding, or compassion first). The resentment is still in her. It's interfering with us healing together from the EAs. It's feeding a continuation of her skewed idea of my intentions. I don't know how to work on the relationship while I still can't trust. I don't know how to build trust in the face of her resentment. I can't heal IN the relationship (I can do it by myself in spite of the relationship) without remorse, compassion and reassurance. So I'm not sure what to do with all that.


This paragraph.....it is pain ridden.

I feel it. I live it. The unknowing of what to do, the questioning of every little motivation before choosing a given action...even down to what am I REALLY trying to do by bringing a candy bar home to my wife today? Is it healthy thinking of you, or is it controlling in some way????!!!

Have found a good, but expensive, therapist that is helping me understand how to more quickly move through the analysis part of change....I am choosing healthy actions more easily.

Don't get stuck in the past. Both of you have made unhealthy choices...you have wronged and wounded each other. Don't be condemned by those choices....be convicted by them. Conviction allows for healing and growth.

Realize your role in destructive cycles...and then make better choices.

"We do the best we can. Then we learn better, and so can choose to do better." Maya Angelou

This post is largely about "us" collectively learning and choosing to do better.

It is painful....but it is healthy.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
southsidecali
Member
Member # 22752
Default  Posted: 11:32 PM, May 28th (Wednesday)

Oh man, this post really hit me hard.

These posts narrate our relationship down to the wire -swapping a few HIMs for HERS or vice versa.

My poor kids don't stand a chance unless we heal all that hurt.


Posts: 778 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: CA
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 6:16 AM, May 29th (Thursday)

My poor kids don't stand a chance unless we heal all that hurt.

Keep the faith southsidecali.....

Our therapist said in a receive my session......."your girls are so blessed because of the work you both are doing".

We, like you guys, have been convicted. Painful as it is we see our patterns for what they honestly have been.

It's tiring too....you think you have it all figured out, then you stumble and have to catch yourself. It's hardly a smooth easy trek is it?

Choices are freeing and scary at the same time.

It requires faith and a belief in the unknown to change sometimes.

Cycle is breaking in our family. You can too.

God is with us all.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
sadone29
Member
Member # 38597
Default  Posted: 8:57 AM, May 29th (Thursday)

Thanks blakesteele!

And southsidecali, cycles can be broken! We're working hard to do it with our family. It's really difficult. My first instinct is to keep secrets from the kids to protect them. We're also admitting to them when we make mistakes. If we never admit we're wrong, they're going to grow up thinking that we're superhuman and they're somehow really flawed in comparison.
It's been a challenge especially with our older child. She has trouble talking and opening up. She's filled with lots of anger. But we keep giving her love and more attention. She's slowly starting to talk to us about what's going on inside her head.
I'm excited that we are challenging ourselves to move beyond our habits.


"I move slow and steady, but I feel like a waterfall."

Posts: 659 | Registered: Mar 2013
blakesteele
Member
Member # 38044
Default  Posted: 10:16 AM, May 29th (Thursday)

Your welcome Sadone29. Enjoy visiting with you.

Admitting you make mistakes to your children is huge!

The other night my wife and I were working out in the living room....our two daughters were picking at each other. Nothing serious, typical 7 and 10 year old interactions....I kinda saw them out of the corner of my eye. Mostly I was working out and paying attention to the video.

All of a sudden I notice our youngest getting "slammed" to the ground hard. I jumped up and ran to my oldest daughter and yelled at her. It was too strong of a reaction for the sitch. My wife yelled my name. I caught myself.

Turned out our youngest was not "slammed" so much as she lost her balance and fell fast.


Our oldest also has a hard time expressing herself. Just the raising of my voice can cause her serious pain. I KNOW this. I felt about 6 inches tall immediately following my reaction to this sitch.

I went to my oldest daughter, apologized, explained I was wrong and my reaction was not warranted. I also told her I knew she was scared and that it was okay. I understood.

Its a start.


There have been other healthy exchanges too. She has been angry with me. She has trouble with anger. Not controlling it so much as even feeling and dealing with it. KWIM?

She has told me before "Dad, I am angry with you. But I don't want to be!"

It breaks my heart to see her wrestle with life as she does. That first year after my DD I did the best I could, so did my wife, but it affected our girls. This is a huge trial. Good is coming of it, I see it now. Even the pain it has caused our girls CAN be used to grow and mature them in ways we failed to do as children.

And this is the beauty of breaking long standing cycles.....it blesses our children.

We will still screw them up to some extent. But we have a chance to do better....and we are doing better.

As humans, we are broken. That is our nature. But we are in charge of sheparding them. And through radical honesty and intentional actions we are learning to do a better and better job of it.

I gotta believe the healthier influences my wife and I are to them, the healthier choices they will make....which will result in healthier harvests.

Funny how I fought so hard to hold onto an orchard of rotting, sour fruit upon my DD......

As time passes (approaching the 2 year mark) it is easier and easier to see our old cycles as they were and to accept that our distaste for them will prohibit us from returning to them.

We are learning better and are choosing better.

Peace.


ME: 42 BH, I don't PM female members
SHE: 38 EA
Married: 15 years
Together: 17 years
D/Day 9-10-12
NC: 10-25-12
NC: Broken early November 2012, OM not respond
2 girls; 7 and 10
Fear is payments on debts you have not

Posts: 3609 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Central Missouri
Topic Posts: 46